“The Hangman”

The following poem titled “The Hangman” was written by Maurice Ogden (pseudonym Jack Denoya) in 1951 and it was first published in Masses and Mainstream magazine in 1954. Its chilling premise is similar to the one in “First They Came…”:, a verse based on the speech of Martin Niemöller on January 6, 1946. Into our town the […]

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Benjamin Franklin’s Epitaph and Its Potential Inspiration

Benjamin Franklin The following is the epitaph of Benjamin Franklin. It was written by himself several years before his death on April 17, 1790: THE BODY OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, PRINTER, (LIKE THE COVER OF AN OLD BOOK, ITS CONTENTS TORN OUT, AND STRIPT OF ITS LETTERING AND GILDING,) LIES HERE, FOOD FOR WORMS; YET THE […]

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A Song with All Words Beginning with the Letter M

Here is another example of alliteration. In a book titled Songs of Singularity, a compilation of poems, written by Walter Parke, the “London Hermit”, and published in 1875, there is a song with all words beginning with the letter M. Apparently, this is a serenade in M flat, performed by Major Marmaduke Muttonhead to Mademoiselle […]

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A Riddled Praise: An Acrostic Coincidence

In 1894, Christopher L. Ward of Wilmington, Delaware wrote the following riddle for two young ladies: When you seek a harder question To unriddle, your suggestion, I am sure, itself suggests its answer plain. It has puzzled many sages Of many lands and ages. But no doubt you will not tackle it in vain. Ward […]

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Rhyming Is Tough

As a farmer was going to plough, He met a man driving a cough; They had words which led to a rough, And the farmer was struck on his brough. One day when the weather was rough, An old lady went for some snough, Which she thoughtlessly placed in her mough, And it got scattered, […]

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A Welsh Verse Which Only Consists of Vowels

The following short Welsh verse on the silkworm only contains vowels. Note that there are seven vowels in Welsh, namely, a, e, i, o, u, w, and y: O’i wiw ŵy i weu ê â a’i weuau O’i ŵyau e weua; E’ weua ei ŵe aia’. Ai weuau yw ieuau iâ. It can be translated […]

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Limericks on Taxation

These limericks were sent to me by a friend (Michael Choi) who’s a Tax Accountant: Taxes are something most of us abhor. Filling out those returns is a real bore. They keep taking away our money And we do not think it is funny. And many of us are getting poorer more and more. There […]

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Ending a Sentence with Several Prepositions

I had an English teacher during high school who I can honestly say was good. Her technical knowledge of English grammar and usage was excellent and she had a knack for teaching. However, she liked to insist that we should not end a sentence with a preposition, which I found absurd. The preposition in the […]

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Gleanings from the Past #73

Testimony and Argument Samuel Johnson […] Sir James Johnston happened to say that he paid no regard to the arguments of counsel at the bar of the House of Commons, because they were paid for speaking. [Samuel] Johnson: “Nay, Sir, argument is argument. You cannot help paying regard to their arguments, if they are good. […]

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“The Zealless Xylographer”

Mary Mapes Dodge (Dedicated to the End of the Dictionary.) A xylographer started to cross the sea By means of a Xanthic Xebec; But, alas! he sighed for the Zuyder Zee, And feared he was in for a wreck. He tried to smile, but all in vain, Because of a Zygomatic pain; And as for […]

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